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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Foreign CredentialsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the leader of the New Democratic Party, that this is a very serious matter. We cannot afford to have the foreign credentials of new Canadians not properly used. It is a tragedy for those people and a loss for our country.

That is why the government in the last budget set aside funds to create a new foreign credentials recognition process for the federal government. Because this matter overlaps jurisdiction of the provinces, we have been consulting carefully with them to ensure the new agency is effective. We will have an announcement on that very shortly.

Foreign CredentialsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is so much that could be done by the federal government itself, if it could just sort out the relationships between the offices that give the visas and points to these immigrants and the federal departments that try to connect up people with jobs. Then we would not have so many people living in poverty, earning minimum wage, driving cabs when they are doctors and working in restaurants when they are engineers.

The Conference Board of Canada has shown that there are half a million Canadians in this category and that they could be earning $5 billion more of revenue, lifting all kinds of families out of poverty.

Where is the $18 million that was promised? Where are these offices? All the government does is talk. We want to see some action for the new Canadians.

Foreign CredentialsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP is right when he identifies the losses that are occurring to the country because of this problem. He is not correct when he suggests that this problem could be totally resolved by the federal government acting itself. He should know, and all members of the House should know, that many professional and other credentials are recognized at the provincial level, not at the federal level. This is why we are coming up with something that will work well with the provinces to achieve these objectives.

The leader of the NDP has been a patient man for many years. If he waits just a little while longer, he will get a promising announcement in this regard.

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, like the report from the Prime Minister's special adviser to the Middle East, the Conservatives' promised action on lobbyists seems to be lost.

The Federal Accountability Act requires lobbyists to disclose their activities and prohibits public office holders from lobbying the government when they leave. Yet two months after the act passed, the government has done nothing. The act still waits to be brought into force.

Could the Prime Minister explain his motives in delaying the enactment of the bill when he was once so anxious to see it passed? Why is he stalling on his biggest promise?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, for nine months that member and his party stalled the legislation to ensure that it did not come into effect when their leadership convention was going on. They simply did not want the rules to apply.

When I became President of the Treasury Board a short while ago, I was impressed at the progress my predecessor had made on the file, and we are moving in that direction. My mandate is to implement the act, not to stall it.

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives had a year to get ready and they did nothing, and perhaps this is why.

Lobbyists like David Salvatore and Kevin MacIntosh, who recently worked for ministers, have even been allowed to lobby their former bosses. In fact, last week Kevin MacIntosh, the justice minister's former executive assistant, registered to lobby over a dozen departments, including the PMO and justice, on behalf of 12 Canadian firms.

When did the justice minister stop sharing an Ottawa apartment with Mr. MacIntosh? Does he still have any business ties to him, including property ownership? How many times has he met his former roommate, turned super lobbyist, since the act passed?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I see the member has moved on from trying to destroy the Canadian economy by shutting down economic growth to now making those kind of scurrilous accusations. That is the type of member he is.

Other members in the House are concerned about the issue of lobbyists. For example, I met with the member for Winnipeg Centre to explain where the government was going on that issue. I am prepared to sit down with other members. If they wish to talk about it in a rational, reasonable way, I am prepared to discuss that as well.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last election the Conservatives deceived Canadians when they promised to be as pure as the driven snow. That was before they made over 50 partisan appointments.

Could the Prime Minister explain why, then, he named the Mississauga—Streetsville Conservative candidate, Raminder Gill, as a citizenship judge and why did Mr. Gill not have to go through the normal screening process?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, as all members of the House know, the appointments that we have made are all very qualified, including those who have been made to that board. In fact, the chief official on that board, who was responsible for screening, told the committee of Parliament that the individual in question was indeed qualified to do that job.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

What he did not say, Mr. Speaker, and he said so to the media, is in actual fact that gentleman never appeared before the board in order to be screened.

We are still waiting for the Conservatives to keep their promise to create an appointments commission and establish criteria to ensure all appointments are non-partisan and based on merit. We are also waiting for the Federal Accountability Act to be brought into force.

The government will not explain Mr. Gill's appointment. Could it explain the appointment of former Alliance candidate, Kerry-Lynne Findlay? Can it justify appointing such a neo-Conservative ideologue to the Human Rights Commission?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, all appointments are very qualified. We did attempt to put in place a public appointments commission, with the person in charge to be one of the most qualified and respected individuals in the country. Unfortunately, the members of the opposition united to dismantle the reputation of that man. As a result, that has been delayed. Otherwise that process would have been in place already.

The difference is, under the Liberal Party we saw appointments like Allan Rock, Karen Kraft Sloan, John Harvard, Yvon Charbonneau, Sophia Leung and a series other former MPs who were given going away parties, including some fellow name Gagliano to Denmark.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

February 19th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Tony Blair's adviser, Nicholas Stern, met with David Suzuki today, and the two joined forces to remind the government that environmental issues have major economic implications in addition to environmental and social implications.

How many warnings from international experts does it take for the Minister of the Environment to open his eyes and understand that he must set precise, significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets immediately?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this government does not need warnings from environmental leaders. We are taking action. The only reason is that we are the first government in Canada's history to say it is ready to bring in regulations to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality. That is our priority. We on this side of the House are taking action.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, setting precise reduction targets is the prerequisite for setting up a carbon exchange.

Will the Minister of the Environment acknowledge that the carbon exchange must be established in Montreal because that is where derivatives are now being traded?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I said last week to my colleague from Montreal, I have already met with representatives of the Montreal Exchange. I have listened to what they have to say. Of course, some of them want it to be in Montreal and others want it to be in Toronto. If I were to ask my colleague, the Minister of Labour, he might suggest Jonquière or Alma. We are in the process of making a decision. More information will be supplied as soon as possible.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the army refuses to provide medical treatment to reservists who fought in Bosnia and who are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Simon Boies, a member of the Hull Regiment, is one of them and he wants to remind the Prime Minister of the commitment he made in November, when he said that his government would not treat our soldiers the way they were treated in the past, but that it would treat them properly upon their return from missions.

How can the Prime Minister justify the fact that the army is not able to properly care for its reservists? After all, he made a commitment in that regard.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. We are spending $352 million more this year than last year on behalf of veterans affairs. We have opened a number of clinics across the country.

We are working very closely with DND to recognize symptoms very early so treatment can begin earlier. The health of the soldiers is the most import factor, no question about that.

Canadian Television FundOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, cable distributor Shaw has suspended its contributions to the Canadian Television Fund. Shaw is demanding guarantees that changes will be made to the fund before it resumes making payments.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage remind Shaw that no guarantees can be offered as long as it refuses to meet one of the conditions of its licence, which is to pay its dues to the Canadian Television Fund?

Canadian Television FundOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is committed to Canadian content.

Last week, I asked Vidéotron and Shaw to resume their payments. I am happy that Vidéotron has resumed payments. Shaw has indicated that it is willing to work with the CRTC and the government to improve the system.

I am happy that all the parties are working together to make the system better.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, here is another example of how Conservatives waste taxpayer dollars.

This past July the former human resources minister went to Winnipeg to present a fake $100 child benefit cheque. Her flight alone cost 20 times the monthly child care benefit. Now we learn that she exceeds the Juno joyriding heritage minister for her love of limousine travel.

While on a junket, she spent $750 on limousine rides, almost eight times the worth of her so-called child care benefit. The cheque was fake; her expenses were not. How can she justify them to Canadian parents who she has shortchanged?

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, going to Winnipeg to make the announcement was part of our campaign to ensure that all parents who were eligible for the universal child care benefit were aware that it had been launched and how they could apply for it.

All my expenses were perfectly within the guidelines.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, back home we would say that the bottom is gone right out of her.

The same minister blew another $800 on limousine service to a Confederation Club luncheon on April 20. Last March she wasted $1,300 on airfare and, yes, another limo ride to promote the student summer job program. Some promo, this is the same program her government slashed by $55 million, eliminating 25,000 student jobs.

Why do Conservatives value limo rides more than they value Canadian students and Canadian parents?

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, once again, all my expenses were completely within the guidelines for ministerial expenses.

However, there is a question I would like to ask. Why are those members so concerned about those expenses, which they are comparing to the universal child care benefit, when it was their leader who said that he would take away the universal child care benefit?

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not all. To arrive in style at a country fair last September, the very same minister rented yet another limo, spending $862 so she could take in the sights for four hours.

The minister spent more on one four hour limo ride than her Conservative government gives to parents in one year. How does she justify that?

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, where I live and where I travel there is often very limited access to public transit. Where I live there is no public transit. We have a choice of a taxi drive. That is it. We do not have access to airplanes as they do in Montreal.